BIGBANG‘s MADE series comeback has been on a disappointing trajectory for the past couple of months. They exploded out the gate with M‘s incredible “Loser” and “Bae Bae” (two of my favourite songs of the year), but then hit a bit of a snag with A‘s less impressive but still decent “Bang Bang Bang” and “We Like 2 Party.” They finally struck sewage with D‘s The Wanted rip-off “Sober” (which admittedly sounds great when played with a live band) and the over-sentimental “If You.”

I was praying that the E single would end the MADE series on a high note, and thankfully it has.

Lead single “Let’s Not Fall In Love” is a lush synthpop ballad that’s half “Love Song” half “Blue.” It’s not terribly original, but at least the boys are reusing one of their better musical blueprints and showcasing some lyrical depth at the same time.

Let’s not fall in love, we don’t know each other very well yet,” they sing. “Actually, I’m a little scared, I’m sorry / Let’s not make promises, you never know when tomorrow comes / But I really mean it when I say I like you.”

Whether you like BIGBANG or not, they are literally one of the few K-pop artists with good lyrics — they don’t just repeat the same K-pop tropes over and over again. There’s actually a brutal, almost uncomfortable honesty to the lyrics from the MADE series.

In “Bae Bae,” BIGBANG ask their love interest to the stay the age she is so she’ll remain beautiful forever for them, and in “Let’s Not Fall In Love” they’re earnestly telling the girl not to get too clingy too soon or try to trap them. They’re expressing a man’s POV, completely unfiltered, just like Hyomin did in last year’s controversial “Nice Body.”

E‘s other new single sees the long-awaited return of GD&TOP, who I was a HUGE fan of back in the day. I actually planned to do a GD&TOP retrospective post to precede their comeback but ran out of time.

I was hoping for another “Don’t Leave” (one of the best songs of 2011), but I can accept the duo’s unofficial “Knock Out” sequel, “Zutter.”

The music video looks like something out of “The Chaser” or “I Saw The Devil.” Daebak.

So, I’ve decided I’m officially a fan of the MADE series era. When I measure the number of songs I like compared to the ones I don’t, the positive easily outweighs the negative. M alone is BIGBANG at their best, and for one album to produce not one but two perfect singles is rare these days, especially in K-pop.

Like I always say, SHINee, TVXQ, and BIGBANG are just in a whole different league to other boy bands, Korean and Western.